South Africa's R105bn green hydrogen project to be energised by hot De Aar sunshine

21st May 2024 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

South Africa's R105bn green hydrogen project to be energised by hot De Aar sunshine

Hive Hydrogen South Africa chairperson Thulani Gcabashe

JOHANNESBURG ( – South Africa’s R105-billion green hydrogen, green ammonia project in the Eastern Cape took another major leap forward on Tuesday with the announcement of its underpinning by a cluster of nine solar projects in the very high solar yielding area of De Aar.

The gigascale 1 230 MW solar project is the co-development of a consortium made up of Hive Hydrogen, Akuo Energy Afrique, Africoast Investments and Golden Sunshine Trading, which has been working towards this milestone for the past two years, and follows Hive Hydrogen signing an agreement earlier this year with Genesis Eco-Energy to implement 372 MW of wind power in the Western Cape, also in support of the green hydrogen, green ammonia project at Coega.

This big Crossroads Green Energy solar project has been developed on time and well within budget.

“The professionalism and dedication everyone has shown is truly exceptional,” Hive Hydrogen South Africa chairperson Thulani Gcabashe stated in a media release to Mining Weekly.

Africoast, Golden Sunshine Trading and Akuo Energy are co-developing a 6 000 MW pipeline of solar energy and wind energy projects for the Coega green ammonia projects.

The Crossroads Green Energy cluster is being developed for Phase 1 of the Coega green ammonia project while the remaining projects are moving through a phased development to meet the future demand in Coega and potential other offtakes.

“We are proud to be working with Hive Energy to realise these strategic projects,” Don McGillivray of Africoast Investments stated in the joint release.

Hive Hydrogen South Africa is co-founded by BuiltAfrica, which Gcabashe launched in 2009 as an investment and development business focused on sectors that support sustainable development, and Hive Energy, which Giles Redpath launched in 2010 to participate in the solar photovoltaic expansion across England.

Gcabashe is a former CEO of Eskom and a former chairperson of Standard Bank and very fortunate for South Africa is that this pioneering project that he is helping to progress is already at an exceedingly advanced stage of conceptualisation and planning at Coega.

It also presents an opportunity to create a key initial hydrogen valley-type kickstart in a country well-endowed with renewable energy, land, port infrastructure and the minerals and metals needed to be globally competitive green fuel producer.

The one-million tons of green ammonia a year that will be produced at Coega will provide clean energy to assist with the decarbonisation of heavy industries and transportation industries.

Every effort is being made to work with all spheres of government, development funding institutions, and local businesses to ensure that the full potential of the project’s impact on the development of the Gqeberha area is realised, at a time when Hive Hydrogen is also collaborating with Itochu Corporation of Japan to develop a least-cost green ammonia solution.

Itochu is a potential strategic equity investor and offtaker from the gigascale green hydrogen project.

Interestingly, the Presidential Investment Summit-tabled project was awarded strategic integrated project status by the Ministry of Public Works in November 2022.